Look, I get the youthful inexperience problem (although it doesn’t explain Swann’s inconsistencies). I really do. (As an example, the puzzlement in the stands around me about who would go in when Herrera got hurt was almost comical.) I’m legitimately excited about the development I’m seeing out of guys like Leonard Floyd and Josh Harvey-Clemons. And we’re seeing concrete improvement from Georgia’s run defense – at the end of the first half, the Dawgs had given up a total of 22 rushing yards in their last six quarters of play.
But I’m having a really hard time getting past that play call on 3rd-and-23 yesterday.
Here’s the list of things that the Georgia defense was doing competently to well against LSU at that point: defending the run, rushing the passer. Here’s the list of things the defense wasn’t doing competently: everything else. And yet, at the moment when his team needed a crucial stop and had a chance to take control of the game late, Grantham chose to take the play out of the hands of a group that was getting it done and put it in the hands of a group that had struggled all day to handle a textbook pocket passer with an NFL-quality arm and the two best receivers in the conference. The results were predictable, and I mean that literally, as Mettenberger had converted another third down and long situation against a three-man rush earlier in the second half. Basically, Grantham played with matches in that situation and got burned.
I will say he deserves some credit for learning, because he ditched that prevent strategy the last time Mettenberger got the ball back and sent the pass rush after him hard. (Did anyone see Jenkins get up the air the way he did on the fourth down attempt? Whoa.) But I really don’t get that call. It’s rather amazing that it didn’t cost his team the game.